> Again, I do not know who is right and who is wrong here, we have excellent
> examples of WMF staff work all the time through (let me name Maggie Dennis
> as an example of someone who is doing excellent work as both WMF staffer
> and a project volunteer, and there are more examples), but things
> definitely went suboptimal in that period. Volunteers can any moment, you
> know, walk away, and without them, WMF projects would die.
Allow me to give one specific limited example that touches on some of the
themes you raised here, Yaroslav. My main point is that from the outside,
correlation of what happened during Sue's and Lila's leadership might seem
to imply causation, but I think the reality is much more complicated.
The pageview API, which is now being integrated into the Graph extension,
stats tools, iOS app, and generally making a lot of people happy, has a
long history. Various members of the community have been requesting this
feature with increasing fervor for over a decade. I started at WMF in 2012
and within 1 year I learned enough to be completely convinced that this was
one of the most worthwhile projects we could embark on. However, at this
point, we *could not* expose any kind of remotely useful data via a
pageview API, for technical reasons. We overcame those reasons in October
2014, at which point it took us about 6 months to prioritize the project to
actually do it.
My point is, Sue's support for this project wouldn't have mattered, it
wasn't technically possible during her tenure. Sue did give us support for
the infrastructure groundwork, and that was key. And Lila's support for
it, once we could do it, was not directly gained, we prioritized it
internally on my team with no interaction with Lila. She saw it was our
goal and didn't reject it, but we spent literally a few minutes talking
about it that whole year.
In 2013, I was told by members of the community that us saying "it's not
possible to build a Pageview API" was considered "laughing at the
community" as you put it, Yaroslav. But I hope, if nothing else, we've
proven that we never laughed, we tried our hardest and fought with some big
challenges to make it happen. And none of it really had anything to do
with our ED. So in this case, establishing causation all the way to the ED
would probably be impossible. Logic tells me that this is probably true in
a lot of cases where now, in this dark time, we would want to look past
that complexity and establish causation that might not be there.
I am not defending or attacking Lila. I am simply saying that, just
because we are in this position of questioning our leadership, it does not
mean we have to try and neatly package everything that happened under Sue
and everything that happened under Lila and try to compare.
The current questioning of leadership is a conversation about very specific
issues, of which the board is aware, and which WMF staff, despite all the
craziness, has had the restraint and humanity to not mention publicly. I
certainly wish the level of discourse here would be less violent, because
we have to look at ourselves in the mirror when this is resolved and build
our future together.
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